Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- Easton McGee threw 5.0 shutout innings, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods fell 3-0 to the South Bend Cubs in the series opener on Monday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods are 21-16 on the year as they return to action Tuesday night with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch in the second game of the series.
Both teams had promising chances to strike first in the fourth inning. Against McGee, Andrew Weber led off the top of the inning with a double, but didn’t advance further as McGee ended the inning with a comebacker and a pair of strikeouts. In the bottom half, Wander Franco and Kaleo Johnson began the inning with back-to-back singles, but Cubs starter Brailyn Marquez struck out the next two hitters and induced a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
The game remained scoreless until the sixth inning, when Cristofer Sanchez relieved McGee to make his Hot Rods debut. Sanchez retired the first two hitters he faced, but Jonathan Sierra crushed the first pitch of his at-bat over the right field bullpen for a solo home run, giving South Bend a 1-0 lead.
South Bend tacked on two more off Sanchez in the ninth, pushing the South Bend lead to three runs. The Hot Rods got a leadoff double from Grant Witherspoon in the bottom of the ninth, but failed to score and fell by a final of 3-0.
McGee went 5.0 shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out two with no walks in a no-decision. Sanchez (0-1) came out of the bullpen and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, including a homer, while striking out six in taking the loss.
Notes: Johnson extended his hitting streak to seven games…Franco picked up his seventh multi-hit game…Franco also stole a base in consecutive games for the first time in his career…Ford Proctor collected his eighth multi-hit game of the season…After his 5.0 scoreless innings, McGee has allowed two runs over his last 24.0 innings, spanning five games (four starts)…BG is 3-8 against left-handed starters…The Hot Rods are 5-2 in games decided by three runs…Bowling Green was shut out for the fifth time this season in their 37th game…The 2018 Hot Rods were shut out for the fifth time in their 93rd game…The Hot Rods are 8-4 in series openers this season…Bowling Green is 87-79 all-time against South Bend, 44-40 at Bowling Green Ballpark…The Hot Rods will square off in the middle game against South Bend on Tuesday night with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch...RHP Shane Baz (0-0, 1.80) will face South Bend RHP Derek Casey (1-1, 4.85)…It will be another Tailwaggin’ Tuesday, where fans are allowed to bring their dogs to Bowling Green Ballpark…Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM, as well as, with their smart phones via the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn Radio app.